Contract to Run UK PubMed Central Announced
Scientists will be able to access a vast collection of biomedical research at the touch of a button thanks to a major new initiative that aims to promote the free transfer of ideas in a bid to speed up scientific discovery. Based on a model currently used in the United States, UK PubMed Central (UKPMC) will provide free access to an online digital archive of peer-reviewed research papers in the medical and life sciences.
The Wellcome Trust, as part of a nine-strong group of UK research funders, announced that the contract to run UKPMC has been awarded to a partnership between the British Library, The University of Manchester and the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI)....
UKPMC will ensure that the digital archive of published articles resulting from research paid for by any of the funding consortium will be freely available, fully searchable and extensively linked to other online resources....
In the initial stages of the UKPMC programme, the British Library will lead on setting up the service, developing the process for handling author submissions and marketing the resource to the research community.
The University of Manchester will host the service – on servers based at MIMAS (Manchester Information and Associated Services) – and will support the process of engaging with higher-education users.
EBI, which is part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), will contribute its biomedical domain knowledge and state-of-the-art text-mining tools to integrate the research literature with the underlying bioinformatics databases....
UK PubMed Central will provide an enhanced way of accessing published research, preserving it for prosperity and making it richly searchable in ways that are not currently available.
The first phase of the implementation will involve mirroring the American PubMed Central database. The partners will then establish the technical infrastructure of the service, including the facility for ingesting articles, and will also begin to engage more widely with the user communities. Launch of the service is scheduled for January 2007.
The UKPMC Funders Group consists of: Arthritis Research Campaign, The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, The British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, The Association of Medical Research Charities, The Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Executive Health Department, the Department of Health, The Joint Information Systems Committee, the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.
Comment by Peter Suber:
This contract clears the way for nine UK funding agencies to provide OA (through different internal policies) to the research they fund. That's big step forward.
Note that just last week the ALPSP urged the British Library not to involve itself with UKPMC. Also note that two of the eight Research Councils (the BBSRC and the MRC) are members of the UKPMC Funders Group.
Update. JISC has issued a press release (August 1) on its own role as one of the nine funders of UKPMC.
Source: Peter Suber. Open Access News [31 July 2006) [FullText]